The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has declared that the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, lacks the power to dissolve the elected and operating Local Government Councils in the State.
A statement signed by Rivers APC Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, and issued on Sunday in Port Harcourt said that though Wike claims to have read Law, it said that the fact that the governor never practised the profession for one day, may make it difficult for him to know the position of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on this issue.
“We therefore wish to advise him to find time to read the relevant portions of the Constitution and educate himself on his lack of powers to dissolve Local Government Councils duly elected by the Rivers people.
“If he claims that he has powers to dissolve the Local Government Councils, he is invariably saying that the Federal Government has powers to dissolve his illegal government without following due process.
“Any such action by Wike will not only be an exercise in futility but would be in clear contempt of court as the issue is currently before the Port Harcourt Federal High Court in Suit No: CA/PH/131/2015 and the Court of Appeal Suit No: FHC/PH/CS/84/2015.
“Besides, the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has severally ruled that Governors of States in Nigeria lack the powers to sack elected Local Government Councils as in the case of the removal of 148 elected Local Government Councils by the Abia State Government in 2006 and subsequent Court of Appeal judgments on Imo and Ekiti states in 2012 and 2013 respectively, where it was held that such actions by state governors amounted to ‘executive rascality’.”
According to Rivers APC, for Wike to seek to dissolve the Local Government Councils that were duly elected by the people of Rivers State which tenure has just begun is nothing but “a devilish gamble sure to throw Rivers into a state of anarchy. This is an ill-advised move that will lead to the spilling of more Rivers blood, as if the one that was spilled to install him as governor is not enough.”
The party vowed that any undemocratic dissolution of the Councils will not only be resisted but may also be a call for a revolution that will consume the illegal government currently operating in the State.
“Rivers APC would like to call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, the heads of the various security agencies and the general public to hold the Nyesom Wike-led Rivers State Government responsible for any breach of peace in Rivers State that may result from the illegal moves to do away with the duly elected 22 Local Government Councils in the State in order to replace same with Wike’s hand-picked cronies as Caretaker Committees,” the statement said.
The party commended Rivers youths and the State Branch of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) “for protesting against the illegal move by a government forced on us by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in an election condemned by the international community and other well meaning societies.” It reassured them that the party is solidly behind them in the struggle to entrench constitutionalism in the State.
It urge the Bukola Saraki-led National Assembly, civil society organisations and other allied bodies to prevail on the Wike-led administration to jettison the dangerous moves to dissolve the Councils that were elected on May 21, 2015 for a three-year tenure and sworn into office by former Governor Chibuike Amaechi on May 25 as this is nothing but an invitation for anarchy.